Photo of a woman carrying an infant on her back in a colorful blanket/satchel.

The Politics of Sobreparto: Beyond the Medical Dimensions of a Postpartum Condition

Migrant indigenous Andean women living in the lowland Bolivian city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra often mention sobreparto (“following birth”) among the dangerous consequences of pregnancy. This condition occurs after delivery and manifests with cold chills, fever, and general weakness. If it’s left untreated, it can even lead to death. Some of the most… Read more →

Painting of a crowd of people surrounding a beleaguered looking woman in a torn nightgown; a belt (for chaining her up) is behind removed from around her waist.

What Would Philippe Pinel Do? Old and New Understandings of Mental Illness

I was intrigued when, on February 1, 2018, I heard the journalist and author Johann Hari on Democracy Now! talking about his most recent book, Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression—and the Unexpected Solutions. In this book, Hari argued that the primary cause of “rising depression and anxiety is not in our heads.”… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news Secrets of a brothel privy. Susan B. Anthony’s bad food. A woman on Mount Rushmore? The history of the “ideal” woman. Lena Dunham’s lesson for doctors. Why black disability history matters. Walking in Harriet Tubman’s footsteps. Key concepts and research in bioethics. Women’s Experiences… Read more →

More Recent Articles

Photo of a large group of young children, most with shaved heads, holding signs with anti-typhus messages in Spanish.

Climate Calamity: Lice, Typhus, and Gender in Mexico

By tucking themselves away in the corners of beds and the folds of clothes, insects have long evolved alongside humans. Mites, ticks, fleas, bedbugs, lice—they all feast happily on blood, leaving humans with the itchy, irritating aftermath. In the first half of the twentieth century, rural parasitic insects gained a foothold in the largely agriculture-based… Read more →

Sunday Morning Medicine

A weekly check-up of gender, medicine, and history in the news A history of the “ditz” voice. Menstruating while disabled. Vintage posters of strong women. The vaccine that changed the world. The illnesses and death of Queen Mary I. Super Spooner and the Witchcraft murder. The story of the skull found in a London pub…. Read more →

Poison and Protest: Sarah Bassett and Enslaved Women Poisoners in the Early Modern Caribbean

In 2008, the government of Bermuda erected its very first monument to an enslaved person. The “Sally Bassett Memorial Statue” is a ten-foot tall bronze sculpture by Bermudian artist Carlos Dowling. It depicts Sarah Bassett, an enslaved woman who was executed in 1730 for poisoning three people. Bassett is a well-known figure to Bermudians, and… Read more →

A white lady in a bomb ass hat bends over a man and cradles his head as she holds a glass to his lips

The Devastation of Peace: Otilia Noeckel and the Army Nurse Corps after the Great War

“I just adore the work I am doing right now. I am on a dressing team with another nurse and a surgeon. We dress wounds almost all day long. Today we did sixty. The horrors of the war are certainly evident around here. Some of the wounds are frightful and some of the poor boys… Read more →